The Trifecta of Awesomeness

Out of all of the 8 trips I’ve taken to Malawi I would have to say that this last trip was unlike all of the others. Being there for 4 months, I spent the full summer there and could not have dreamed up some of the things that happened.

-“People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.” – Unknown
Isaiah 25:8-9- “He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In the day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us… Let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”


 

8d41c950-3d0d-4dae-91dc-09fc9340071bDistrict Executive Committee Briefing-

Before we could begin operating the home it was mandatory that got the formal approval from a man whom holds this as his title, “Director of Planning and Development”. In order to do this we had to organize a community sensitization meeting on site.

Nearly 60 local stakeholders in the field of gender based violence around Mponela attended. I was given an opportunity to stand and share the God given vision over this home and also clearly presented the gospel of enemy love. From what we could tell everyone was incredibly honored to have the only home of it’s kind be in their district and hoped in some way to be able to partner with us. Everyone from the Commander and Chief of the Police to the Social Welfare Officer stood in support. Needless to say, I was fighting tears through most of the meeting and we were given the approval we need to begin operating.


Sex Workers Committee Meeting- 

We found out that Mponela has a committee of sex workers. These woman are referred to as queens. Since they are regularly abused the police decided they wanted to do wat they could to protect them even though prostitution is technically illegal.

We were offered an incredible opportunity to speak with over 50 of the groups members. Newman shared the heart of When the Saints and our desire to see an end to sexual exploitation. I asked them how they felt God might feel about them and then preached from Luke 7 where a “sinful woman” came to anoint Jesus feet with oil at the house of a religious leader. (Add verse at end?*).

We gave almost a dozen girls the opportunity to stand and share the story of how they got into prostitution and without fail everyone single one of them had very difficult circumstances in their lives that they felt forced them into it. They also all shared the desire to have a way out through something like a loan in order to start their own business. We gave a ride to as many of the girls that could fit in the back of our truck and Newman said they sang these words the whole ride back, “Soon we will be leaving prostitution”.


 

The Selection of Our First Few Girls- 
Toward the end of my time in Malawi we got to the point were we could finally begin the selection process of which girls will be living in the home. We partnered with a police man from the victim support unit and the social welfare official. They provided us with the most recent cases of sexual abuse and we visited the home of two different 14 year old girls.

This was a very sobering time for all of us. We were given the opportunity to pray and speak life over the girls. We invited them to come and visit the home just to make sure they felt comfortable with the idea of moving in. I was absolutely blown away when I found out that the meaning of the first girls name in Chichewa is, “God is with us”. How humbled we were by the Lords favor over us.

We have one more step before we can bring the girls into the home. We have to have our staff and Malawian committee be trained by the Social Welfare office on the policies of the Child Protection Care Act. We are hoping this will be finished in the next few weeks and will then be able to officially open.

A Look to the Past & A Look Ahead

As we prepare for the opening of the girls home here in Malawi, there’s been a lot going on to get things ready.  From traveling to South Africa to purchase all the furniture needed to planting and expanding our garden which will help the home be totally self sustaining.  It’s been a busy few weeks.  To highlight some of the action, here’s what’s been happening!

 

11204865_969199139768366_8947445288111777299_nOver the past month or two we’ve seen:
-The bricklaying of a 900 meter fence completed.
-Construction of a store house/garage (minus the roofing).
-Sewing of the curtains.
-Installation of our front gate.
-Building of a guardhouse next to the gate (minus the roofing).
-Building a general store where we will sell the produce, chickens and general products, which will help generate income for the safe home expenses.
-Expansion of our garden.

 

 

 

Over the next week or two we hope to see:11053611_965160160172264_3343161196617853327_n
-Weld the iron bars on 24 panels at the front of our brick fence.
-Install the water tank on the tower and 7 water faucets in the garden and orchard.
-Install the curtains.
-Put the roof on the guardhouse, general store and storehouse.
-Build a chicken coop.
-Get approved for NGO international status in Malawi.

 

 

 

 

 


 We ask you to join us in prayer over these hopes. We would also like to share a tangible need with you. As some of you know, we recently rented a house that teams will stay in and where we will have discipleship meetings. The cost to rent and fully furnish this home was not part of our original fundraising. We would be honored if you would help us raise the $2,000 needed to do this!  To join us and help us reach our goal, please click here.

In Your Eyes

Over the last few days there has been so much happening! This is such a refreshing change from the past month, which has been smooth, but at the same time very slow.

Sometimes Jesus moves us forward very quickly, but other times He slows us way down. Many people find themselves wanting to continue moving quickly, but end up trying to keep the pace by their own strength. This quickly can lead to what many call “burnout”. We forget that God moves through seasons and a rhythm of ebb and flow.

Have you ever heard that if you stare into someone’s eyes for no less than one minute, you will begin to inhale and exhale in unison? Here’s the problem- staring into someone’s eyes is usually outrageously awkward! Most of us are simply terrified to be known even just by a gaze. Likewise, we find ourselves losing sight of our Father’s eyes and end up all alone out ahead of Him.

As WtS we have a passionate desire to be so intimate with Jesus that we loose ourselves in His gaze and our breaths become one in the same. “Then Moses said, “If you [God] don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place.” -Exodus 33:15
 
“We gravitate toward the trite & trivial rather than the somber & grave. 
We pride ourselves on adornment & complexity rather than simplicity, often because many of us are trying desperately to Hide Our True Selves.” -Sacred Pathways

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Tour: Mponela, Malawi

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Here is the police station of Mponela. They have a Victim Support Unit we are developing a partnership.

with

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This is what they call “Devil Street” here in Mponela. Where most of the bars are and where outreach takes place.

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Here’s one of three gas stations in Mponela. They let us get gas on credit when we are short on money and then pay them back later!

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The bank in Mponela that we belong to. They set the standard.

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The post office here in Mponela. They have private bags instead of private boxes!

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The main convenience store that has basic groceries here in Mponela.

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RECAP: Our Trip to South Africa

Thank you for your prayers. It seemed an impossible task to bring everything together for our trip to South Africa. I’m really thankful that what seems impossible never seems to hinder WtS from moving towards it. The deception of what this world claims should or shouldn’t be, is not the same reality which our faith allows us to believe in.

Miraculously, Newman got his passport in a week when most people must wait months. We were able to exchange our foreign currency and get our bus tickets the day before leaving! It was a whirlwind, but the committee decided that the better quality items we could buy at cheaper prices in South Africa would be worth the expenses to travel there and bring the things back. For various reasons, there was a small window of time in which we needed to make the trip rather than get lower quality items which would cost more here in Malawi.

Newman enjoyed his first trip out of Malawi with a number of first time experiences; the mall, mustard, chopsticks, escalators and a movie theatre. Chola’s brother lives in Johannesburg and drove us all over kingdom come as we did our shopping. In one of the most dangerous cities in the world he took great care of us! We hired a truck to drive all of our things back to Malawi and received them a few days after arriving ourselves. Everything is now safely in the house and it is beginning to feel more like a home than ever.

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The Story Behind the Transformer

It is rare, but sometimes the government will give a transformer to a community project like ours if it will also benefit the surrounding villages. A transformer takes electricity from one voltage and changes it into usable voltage. However, when the flooding happened down south a few months ago, government resources were redirected. We lost hope of getting a transformer donated.

We began the normal process and got an estimate for over $12,000. Not having that much in our budget we decided to wait and pray through what to do. A week later Newman was awakened at 3 A.M. with the feeling that the quotation was wrong. We looked more closely and found out they had entered 600 meters of wire instead of only 60.

The next day we went to the office to have them double check it. Even though it was wrong on the paper the total amount was actually correct. Newman was confused why he had felt the Spirit prompt him to go back to the office.

As we were leaving, the person behind the desk said there was one other thing we could try. “Write a letter to the main office telling them you are a ministry and that the transformer will benefit the surrounding communities. Who knows, they might show you favor.” A few days after sending in the letter we found out they decided to reduce the price by more than half! How incredibly humbling to watch the way Jesus is orchestrating all of this together.

One Step and Again – Moving Forward

5c8c2eff-2209-4ce2-b1c6-dc4e2caba2f4My brother and I have been here for over a week and a half already. So far we have been able to see smooth strides forward toward the opening of the safe home. After my last visit to Malawi over 5 1/2 months ago, I returned to a number of things that had advanced. Our in-country director, Newman, has done such a wonderful job “holding down the fort”.  The most impressive accomplishment was the extensive and nearly finished wall covering 850 of the 900 meters around the perimeter of the land.


 We have initiated the building of a water tower that will hold the well water and be mostly used for watering the garden and orchard. We have also attained about half of what we need to install the submersible pump in the well that our friends drilled for free.


We are in the process of negotiating with the electrical company for the purchase of a transformer that will allow the home, as well as surrounding villages, to have electricity. We are also making a few minor construction adjustments and additions to make the building as “homie” as possible.

On top of that, the committee has gathered together to discuss many other details of moving forward. We will keep you updated as things progress. 

WtS Partners With Give STL Day, May 5th

One of the three main things that we do apart from the counseling with girls and the discipleship with men is evangelism in villages. We show the Jesus film, preach the gospel and praying individually over people. We believe it is a very important aspect in seeing systemic redemption come to the foundation of the culture as the kingdom of heaven comes to this earth.
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Here is the problem. A study from another ministry showed that after one year only about 1-2% of people who gave their lives to the Lord were still actively living for Jesus. They were not able to find a weekly gathering or attain a Bible and drifted away from a relationship with Jesus.
Incredibly saddened they decided to try to make this one time experience ave more of a lasting impact on the lives of individuals. They started gathering people together shortly after the evangelism meeting and said they would give them a simple $36 solar powered Bible as long as they set up a place to meet weekly to listen to a few chapters and allow for discussion.
After returning a year later they find not 1-2%, but rather over 200% of people attending these audio Bible meetings with a desperate desire to learn more about the life of Jesus and is divine Spirit.
Join us on May 5th as we participate in GiveSTLday. Give STL Day is a 24-hour giving event with local and international impact. More than 790 nonprofit organizations have signed up to participate and will be raising much needed dollars with your help! Our desire is to raise $1,000 for the purchasing and distribution of these solar Bibles at our evangelism meetings. We would be able to buy almost 28 audio bibles with that! We have one matching donor, but are looking for more! If you want to be part and match the donations made on Give STL Day May 5th, email here.

 

Worship & Send-Off

Friday, April 10th, 7 PM

Mid-Cities Church
6750 Manchester Ave.,
St. Louis, 63139
Come join us for a night of Worship, song and prayer as
David Peterka prepares to leave for a 4 month stay in Malawi.


Also in our last update we mentioned being $270 away from our goal of doubling our monthly support. Our director was fasting until this goal was met and it has been accomplished. The story is simply astonishing. Read it Here.

 

Habiba Trafficking pic Our Friend Habiba


Malawi Parliament finally passed two critical pieces of legislation this year, the Trafficking in Persons Bill and Marriage Bill outlawing child marriage. This is great news as both laws are aimed at protecting children and especially young girls from sexual exploitation.

Habiba is on our Committee and over the last 7 years has been instrumental in spearheading efforts to push for the enactment of these two bills. She recently was promoted into the UN Women in order to assist the implementation of these bills. She said with a smile, “If anyone would like for me to come from Malawi and address a group on these things I would be honored.”

 

Moravian_BrethrenThe Moravian Night Watch

The Moravians were a church in the 18th century of faithful long-term, round-the-clock prayers and they saw the world change before their eyes. Some sold themselves into slavery just for the opportunity to proclaim the gospel among slaves who had never known Jesus.

We will be launching a 10 week in-home prayer vigil starting this Friday, April 10th. Please join us by clicking Here to sign up for hour time slots between midnight and 6 am.

With love, the WtS team!

“We look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.” -Titus 2:13

Broken Victory March

Have you ever done a fast? What were you fasting for? Did you fast for a set number of days or did you fast until the accomplishment of a goal?

On March 7th the WtS board gathered and discussed a number of things. We were walking through what will need to be accomplished before the official opening of the first safe home in Malawi. Things like the purchase of furniture, appliances, installation of a submersible pump, building the water tower, getting a generator and finishing 50 meters of our 900 meter fence came up. There seemed to be more work than we thought once we put it all together. Furthermore, we had $1,400 coming in every month from monthly supporters that kept us afloat. We would be incurring at least another $1,400 in monthly expenses once the home is opened. Our goal is to have the home be completely self -sustainable, but that is scheduled to take between 2-3 years.

Our board went into crisis mode. How are we going to raise a little over $30,000 and double our monthly support in a few months? It has taken over 3 and a half years to get our monthly support to where it is and the thought of doubling it in a few months was nothing short of impossible.

Sometimes the Spirit speaks and you know that it’s Him for two main reasons. 1) The idea is so ridiculous you couldn’t have come up with it yourself and 2) Never in a million years would you come up with it because of how much faith it requires. Our director David felt a very clear leading of the Spirit to fast, but not for a set number of days. Instead he was called to fast until the amount of monthly support coming into WtS was doubled. Out of the blue the following morning he gets a text from his parents explaining how it was laid on their heart to begin donating $300 a month. They hadn’t even been told about the fast yet. Confirmation! Over the next 15 days there was an additional $35 committed in monthly support and David accepted defeat despite the amazing start. He decided that he would fast for 30 days, but wasn’t sure why Jesus led him into doing something that seemed so impossible.

That’s when it all changed. Almost like Jesus was waiting for David to stop thinking he was going to do it alone. All of a sudden two people committed $30 a month and then shortly after that a $100 commitment and the next day a $150. Support began flooding in! On the 27th day of the fast our goal was met and we even received a $10,000 one-time donation as a cherry on top of it all. We are now down to only needing around $8,000 in one time donations to finalize the details of the home and would love for you to join us in finishing it out here.

“Love is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken “hallelujah”… (glory to the Lord)” -Buckley